Annotated Bibliography (Religions of Ancient Iran)

For this exercise you must gather 4 academic sources (not primary sources), relating to one of the themes below. You may choose whichever theme interests you most. First, give the full reference for each source in MLA format. Then, write a 250-word summary for each source, commenting on the authors argument, their overall point, and your personal understanding of the source.

-The Structure of Jewish Institutions in Sasanian Iran
-The Process of Conversion of Zoroastrians to Islam
-Zoroastrian heresies
-Notions of Gender and Purity in Zoroastrianism
-The relationship between the Sasanian state and religious communities
-Make sure to give your name and the theme you choose at the top of your submission.

Grading Rubric: 1 point each correct reference, 1 point meets the theme, 2.5 points each summary/commentary meets criteria.

About the course:

This course introduces students to the religions of ancient Iran. It will focus primarily on the rituals and texts of ancient Iranians which arose under the Achaemenids, flourished under the Sasanians, and came to be systematized as Zoroastrianism. This course will also explore other religions of late antique Iran which arose or developed under the Zoroastrian Sasanians, including Eastern Christianity, rabbinic Judaism, Mandaeism, and Manichaeism; and finally will also examine the beginnings of Islam in Iran.

The emphasis of this course is to develop skills in analyzing primary sources for the study of historical religions. We will hence read a number of primary source texts (in translation) from all of the religious traditions we study, setting them in their historical and social contexts. We will also invest in understanding larger concepts such what as the very notion of religion meant in this historical time period, and continues to mean.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to discuss and conduct their own readings on the religions of ancient Iran, especially Zoroastrianism, as well as critically examine categories such as religion and ancient Iran, and possess a broad understanding of the formation, spread, and survival of historical religions.

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